Where to Start


c/o 2026 applicant
Oct 20, 2020
Hello everyone, I am a high school junior currently in my fall semester. The time is coming for me to begin my application process, and I was looking to get some firsthand feedback from others who have gone through the same process on where I should begin. I will be applying to summer seminar this December, but I still have so many questions about the application process.

For anyone who is familiar with the process: when and how do I contact my admissions liaison officer? What other tips would be helpful for me as I begin my application?

Thank you all so much for any help you might be able to offer, this forum as well as the USAFA admissions website have been so helpful as I move towards my goal of becoming a cadet.


Nov 2, 2020
Practice your CFA NOW! The CFA really should be one of the first things you get done when your application opens up. I was practicing last minute and hoping I would pass. It was the last thing I turned in and there’s no reason it should have been like that. Learn from my mistake!

If you haven’t already, build connections with teachers and people you would like to write letters of recommendations for you. I found that it was easy to get evaluations and letters of recommendations done because I already knew who I wanted to write them.

Now let me explain the application process. You can submit a “pre-candidate application” and once USAFA sees if you meet the basic qualifications, then they will promote you to candidate status. This won’t happen until at the EARLIEST, July timeframe. People also get promoted to candidate status past summer going into August, September, October. Once you get promoted to candidate status THEN you start your actual application. Essays, letters of recs, evaluations, CFA (should be the first thing you do), and you can also reach out to your ALO.

Turn in your items ASAP. Some items in your application won’t appear until 70 - 80% of your application is complete. I turned in most of my application early. This meant that certain parts of my application opened up quickly (evaluator & medical). The sooner you get it done, the better. Medical (DODMERB) can be complicated. But there is an ENTIRE thread about it on this website. Make sure you reference that and if you have any question, ask in that thread.

The last piece of advice I have is to be honest with yourself. You are going to be writing essays and be interviewed about your character, grit, and perseverance. Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to go to USAFA? Why? What’s your overall goal for USAFA? How can you contribute to the campus? Are you prepared for the military lifestyle, academic rigor, and emotional toll? In sum, find your “WHY”! Why am I attending? Is it just for the free college or something greater?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself. The application in and of itself is long, hard, and complicated. If you aren’t determined to attend, then you won’t complete it. You will also write essays and be interview about your “why” and if you aren’t sure if you want to go, then it will be difficult to write essays and answer the questions.

Your evaluator and the admissions team can see if a candidate wants to go and they can also see if a candidate is just trying to look good on their application or interview. Don’t over-inflate yourself. Don’t focus on how you are a part of 15 different clubs and have 3000000 service hours. While it may look great, nothing of that would truly speaks to who YOU are. Be humble. Be honest. Be true. That was my approach and I did awesome on my interview and my essays.

I know this is a lot but I believe in you! This thread is full of great advice and a lot of questions have already been asked and answered. I would encourage you to just spend some time here looking and gathering information.

Hope this helps.


Escaped A Black Hole - Twice
Jan 15, 2020
Read every SA website in the entirety, and search and read the forums here on SAF before you post questions. There is more info on here than you could possibly ever remember, let alone follow.


Nov 8, 2019
I would recommend, no matter which academy one is interested in, going to King Point Spotlight and viewing the video by Capt Robert Johnson, admissions director for many years. He is a WP graduate, "infantry by choice." It is about 12 and 1/2 minutes, half of which is focused on KP, the other half on why one should and should not attend an academy.


New Member
Aug 27, 2020
You will be assigned an ALO after you become a candidate. Try to get in some leadership positions, stay on top of your grades, and try to knock out your SAT so you don't have to study for it during senior year.